February 7, 2013
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Stories from the Street
Social media helps yarn shop reach $7M in revenue
Jimmy Beans Wool, a small shop in Nevada, has managed to generate impressive growth through social media outreach and strong customer service. Laura and Doug Zander focused on building the shop's brand by uploading product videos to YouTube and ensuring that orders ship within a day. They also set up a hot tub full of yarn to encourage photo posts to social media when customers visit. The shop's annual revenue now exceeds $7 million. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (2/6)
Caring for Customers
For snappier copy, skip useless phrases
Streamline your marketing content by cutting out useless phrases that drown out what's important, writes Laura Hale Brockway. Among the phrases you can safely excise are "all things considered," "for the most part" and "it goes without saying," she writes. (2/6)
5 ways to fortify your business against online negativity
Disgruntled individuals can do serious damage to your business' reputation in a matter of seconds by posting negative information online, writes Jon Gelberg. But you can protect your company by creating a strong brand, earning media coverage to establish yourself as an expert and training other employees to help promote your brand and become social-media ambassadors. Small Business Trends (2/4)
Keeping Shop
7 ways to get employees to work together
It can be difficult to get employees to collaborate with one another, but you should start by establishing a culture that encourages teamwork, writes Michael A. Olguin, president of Formula PR. "If senior executives encourage an environment where the organization uses less 'I' and more 'we' in how they communicate, everyone will feel supported, included and important to the organization," he writes. It's also important to make sure everyone understands their roles and to focus on training employees. Inc. online (free registration) (2/5)
Five kinds of workers to hire today
The morale-booster. The person thirsty for knowledge. The mentor. Those are among the personalities small businesses need to seek out when hiring, says business writer Nicole Spaight. Two other types to look for: The jack-of-all-trades worker who can succeed in many different areas of the company, and the worker who will challenge bad ideas before they go too far. Entrepreneur online (2/5)
Managing the Money
Key tax provisions in the "fiscal cliff" deal
The government's recent deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" included a number of tax provisions that small-business owners should be aware of, writes Bill Bischoff. He summarizes some of the key provisions, which include 50% first-year bonus depreciation and the ability to give your staff transit passes that won't be subject to taxes. MarketWatch (2/6)
Tips & Tools
Why small businesses shouldn't fear Google's AdWords upgrade
Google has updated its AdWords offerings to make it easier for marketers to coordinate campaigns across multiple devices or platforms. That's a net win for SMB marketers, as the transition "will be seamless and painless," promises Larry Kim. "You'll basically just get a bunch of new options and features in your existing campaigns," he writes. Entrepreneur online/The Daily Dose blog (2/6), Small Business Trends (2/6)
News You Can Use
Postal Service to end Saturday mail delivery
The U.S. Postal Service plans to discontinue Saturday mail delivery to homes and businesses as of Aug. 5. Saturday package delivery will continue, as will delivery of mail to post office boxes. Post offices will remain open Saturdays, although some locations may reduce their hours. The move is expected to save the Postal Service $2 billion annually. The Washington Post/Federal Eye blog (2/6)
Sen. Harkin: Workers deserve paid sick leave
U.S. companies and employees would benefit from a bill that would require businesses to offer paid sick leave, writes Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. The measure would let employees earn up to seven days of time off, at an accumulation rate of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours they work. "Workers' rights should matter to everyone, but they matter even more when you consider that your next turkey sandwich might be served with a side of the flu," Harkin writes. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (2/4)
No matter how great you are as a person or as a business, you will have your detractors."
-- Jon Gelberg of Gelberg Communications, writing at Small Business Trends
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